As Gujarati-medium students in the state will be taught the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) books from 2018, replacing the state board curriculum, the students of other mediums have to wait for at least another year since translating books in the mother tongue has been prioritised by the Gujarat State School Textbook Board (GSSTB).
This would mean that the students of other mediums, like Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Sindhi and Oriya, will have to wait for longer for their NCERT textbooks to be translated into their respective medium. The Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) offers a total of nine mediums — Gujarati, English, Hindi, Marathi, Urdu, Sindhi, Oriya, Telugu and Tamil, in descending order in terms of the number of students. The board conducts secondary and higher secondary examinations in all these mediums.
“At present, our priority is Gujarati medium and the translation work of NCERT textbooks into Gujarati medium is almost complete. As the pilot project is on in some subjects of Class IX, X and XI in a few schools, these would be implemented across all classes from 2018. The books in other mediums would be translated next year,” said GSSTB Chairman Nitin Pethani.
Though the number of students in other mediums is comparatively less than Gujarati, English and Hindi medium, there is a sizable number of Marathi-medium students. According to estimates, over 70,000 students are in Marathi medium from Class I till X. The change from Gujarat Council of Educational Research and Training (GCERT) to NCERT in these mediums is likely to be done in a phase manner, further delaying the shift. (See box)
Similarly, nearly 1,500 students would be studying in Sindhi medium in the state, 900 in Oriya, 600 in Telugu and 300 in Tamil medium from Class I till X. The textbook board claims that Hindi, English and Urdu medium would not be a problem as NCERT textbooks are available in these mediums.
However, the stress is only on Science subjects under the GCERT, leaving aside Commerce and Humanities. “The need was realised to overhaul Science subjects, keeping in mind the low success rate of students clearing the national competitive examinations for engineering and medical colleges once these exams were made centralised. The other subjects are not to be changed to the NCERT,” said Pethani.
Sources in education department said there have been demands for an overhaul in the state board textbooks for the last one decade. This was also addressed and all textbooks were revised after detailed planning under various committees in a phased manner, with the latest change implemented for Class IX and XI in 2016-17.
In the meantime, after the introduction of the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), there were demands to help Gujarat board students compete with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) students. Thus, the state government decided to shift to NCERT books, though retaining the board as GSHSEB.
A pilot project of NCERT textbooks in Class IX was launched in 57 schools across the state during the 2016-17 academic session in English, Maths, Science and Technology subjects in English-medium schools. Another 55 grant-in-aid and self-financed schools were added in the pilot study in Class IX from 2017-18, including those 57 schools, to continue NCERT books in Class X.